Introducing’Slender Threads’ Substack Newsletter and Website

I've published online since the early 1990s, when "social media" consisted of bulletin boards and painfully slow 1200-baud modems. The next wave for online publishing pioneers may be Substack. I've spent months creating compelling content and am now building an audience and interactive community "seeking common ground on politics, history, tech, global culture, religion, the... Continue Reading →

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Mini-course on Pandemics in History: What Can We Learn?

In one sense, the COVID-19 pandemic has struck the world like a bolt out of the blue, a seemingly unpredictable event that suddenly halted commerce and brought on a global economic recession, with millions of people hurt financially and governments taking on unprecedented debt. In another sense, for those who study history, it was entirely... Continue Reading →

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Impressions of 6 Middle Eastern Countries: Safe, Friendly, Spectacular Tourism, Rich History

During eight years based in the United Arab Emirates and Turkey, I also visited Israel, Jordan, Oman and Egypt. I felt safe in all of them most of the time, met many friendly people, visited some spectacular sites, gained an understanding of the region, and insights into human behavior in this environment. Overview Lost Fear... Continue Reading →

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Authoritarianism and Surveillance Societies Become Global Threat

Online Debate: "Free Speech in America Is Under Attack and Should Be Defended." Sponsored by Braver Angels, "building a house united." Featuring Andrew Sullivan and others. Surveillance capitalism is expanding exponentially. New technologies endanger privacy, and make authoritarian control of citizens and migrants much cheaper and easier. Autocracies are growing and democracies are in... Continue Reading →

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Explaining America to Foreigners and to Ourselves

After eight years abroad, upon my return, I saw America with fresh eyes. I wanted to get to re-know my country. A friend counseled that "knowing" an extremely diverse country of more than 300 million people spanning more than a continent of 50 states is impossible. True, but some insightful observations can be made, especially... Continue Reading →

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Adventures in Globalization: Culture Shocks, Bridge Building, Time Travel

If not for world-wide globalization trends since the 1990s, my family, and several of our job opportunities would not exist. Globalization created my family, jobs, possessions, pets, food, entertainment…and cultural backlash. This is the Age of Global Migration. Half a billion people have migrated or depend directly on money from migrants. Migration disrupts, stabilizes politics... Continue Reading →

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Turkish Delight and Sorrow 2009-2022

For two years, from 2009 through 2011, my wife, son and I lived in Turkey. We all agree it was a marvelous experience. People were so warm and friendly. The Turkish economy was stronger than America's at the time. The history and the culture of the country were fascinating. We evolved so much in our... Continue Reading →

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Studying History Is A Bridge Between the Glorious, Terrible Past; Utopian, Dystopian Present and Future

When studying history, as an introduction I ask students to keep in mind various theories of history. Then at the end of the course, in light of what they have learned, I ask them to come back to those theories of historical change and place what they have learned in a much larger context. either reinforcing... Continue Reading →

Mini-Course in Working Through Hyper-Partisan Stalemates

Since 2010, Americans have been deeply divided into hyper-partisan political camps, almost tribal in their loyalties and double-standards -- presuming people on their side are without error and presuming people on "the other side" are totally guilty of treachery and any charges against them. In such an atmosphere, common ground is very difficult to find.... Continue Reading →

The Story of America: ‘A Stirring, Terrifying, Inspiring, Troubling, Earthshaking Epic’

After the civil war, the United States became a different country. A direct line can be traced from the civil war to mass migration to the civil rights movement to America's "culture wars" and current internal struggles. Indeed, several journalists and historians have argued that the civil war explains American identity. US Civil War: Prelude,... Continue Reading →

Not the History Your Grandfather Learned: Fresh Insights into US Founders, Revolution, Slavery, Antebellum America, and Civil War

Recommended text.  In about 100 posts, I attempt to tell the basic story of America from about 1750 up through the Civil War, drawing on the work of historians in the decades since I took social studies in school, and my experiences as a writer, reporter, editor, social studies teacher, traveler and reader. Lies Learned... Continue Reading →

Understanding, Participating in Globalization: Those Who Do Will Go Further in Life

Globalization has now replaced the Cold War as the central organizing principle for understanding the world. UN Debates Globalism Vs. Nationalism Until the end of the world wars and numerous wars for independence in Africa, Asia and the Americas, the central organizing principles for understanding the world were colonialism and imperialism. When I was growing up... Continue Reading →

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